Oct 06, 2023

A “Dreamy Melancholy” Instills a New Antwerp Eatery, and Other News

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Past and present collide at Blueness, a new restaurant in Antwerp's fashion district designed by Space Copenhagen. Partnering with Michelin–acclaimed chef and restaurateur Sergio Herman for the second time, the Danish studio infused the bones of a 17th-century renaissance with moody Scandi energy. Idiosyncratic details give the space a distinctive feel, starting with the custom red-walnut bar by sensorial specialists Destroyers Builders and continuing on to artful interventions like Latvian designer Germans Ermičs's transformation of the main staircase into a copper-clad installation and artist Valentin Loellmann's sculptural brass chandelier in the dining room whose four arms hold clusters of ambiance-setting candles.

The contrasting dialogue of the design extends to the plate where chef Jaclyn Kong turns out French-Japanese mashups such as shiso tempura duck confit with foie gras and nashi pear, and lrobata-grilled langoustine accompanied by dashi-spiked beurre blanc (butter sauce). "The design of Blueness celebrates a sensuous and eclectic atmosphere that invites its guest on an appetizing and playful journey fueled by surprise and expectation," says Peter Bundgaard Rützou, co-founder of Space Copenhagen along with Signe Bindslev Henriksen. "Japanese influences blend eclectically with a classic French approach to the cuisine, and the classic architecture is complemented by insertions of a modern and restrained Nordic character with unexpected esoteric futuristic elements to define its design language. —Nate Storey

"An imposing new cultural project will transform what was once a railway link in the Welsh countryside into what London-based studio Scott Browrigg says will be the world's longest digital art space once it is completed in a few years. By remaking the last vestiges of a 130-year-old abandoned rail tunnel formerly pegged to become a walking path and bike trail, the new arts-centered scheme will deliver an in-demand tourist destination that connects the two communities of Blaencwm and Blaengwynfi located at either end." [H/T Archinect]

"Meta AI, the branch of Facebook's parent company responsible for artificial intelligence, published a report this week about an exploratory research project it is working on called Make-A-Scene "that demonstrates AI's potential for empowering anyone to bring their imagination to life," according to a blog post. Make-A-Scene aims to go one step further than the typical text to image generator by adding the option for users to draw a freeform digital sketch of a scene for the network to base its final image on." [H/T Artnet News]

"Safdie Architects has oriented a medical center in Brazil around a massive atrium with a glass ceiling that was designed to evoke "the feeling of being under a tree canopy." Safdie Architects created The Albert Einstein Education and Research Center, located in southern São Paulo, to house a medical school as well as research facilities. The center is part of the private hospital Sociedade Beneficente Israelita Brasileira Albert Einstein, which is located across the street and connected to the new building by a walkway. The 12,000-square-meter AEERC building is distinguished by a large atrium with a vaulted glass ceiling." [H/T Dezeen]

"In the early years of the 20th century, the Gilded Age financier J.P. Morgan built an opulent library next to his home in Midtown Manhattan to house his collection of rare books and manuscripts. It was designed in an intimidating Neo-Renaissance style by Charles Follet McKim, who modeled it, in part, on the entrance to the Villa Medici in Rome. Over the years, Morgan's sanctum has gradually been transformed into something more open and approachable. In the 1920s, Morgan's son turned it into a public institution (now known as the Morgan Library and Museum); more recently, in 2006, the go-to architect for contemporary museums, Renzo Piano, added glass and steel pavilions to connect the historic buildings and create more gallery space. Now, a new makeover, just completed at a cost of $13 million, includes a thorough restoration of the building's exterior and the addition of a delightful new Greco-Roman garden along East 36th Street." [H/T Fast Company]

"Claes Oldenburg, the Swedish-born American Pop artist known for his monumental sculptures of everyday objects, died on Monday at his home and studio in the SoHo section of Manhattan. He was 93. Mr. Oldenburg entered the New York art scene in earnest in the late 1950s, embracing the audience-participation "Happenings" then in vogue and expanding the boundaries of art with shows that incorporated things like street signs, wire-and-plaster clothing and even pieces of pie. His approach to everyday objects, performance and collaboration has continued to influence generations of artists." [H/T The New York Times]

"The best restaurant in the world is Geranium in Copenhagen. At Geranium, the specialty is seasonal Scandi food, served on the 8th floor of a football stadium with views of the park. It was opened in the middle of the financial crisis, in 2010. "All odds were against us," chef-owner Rasmus Kofoed, in a speech after he won. It's the second year in the row that a restaurant from the capital of Denmark was at the top of the list. Last year, Noma won the No. 1 spot." [H/T Bloomberg]

"Amazon's in-house brands are struggling to keep sales numbers up, and executives are considering scrapping that side of the business altogether. They’ve already told the private-label teams to order fewer products moving forward, with some no longer being stocked at all, sources familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal. Amazon's private-label business now encompasses approximately 45 brands, and, as of 2020, about 243,000 products. Many of those products — which, by the way, Amazon copied from competitors in some cases — simply aren't selling well." [H/T Input]

Packrat urine may store thousands of years of secrets about the earth.

Conservators uncover a self-portrait behind a Vincent van Gogh painting.

The internet unleashed fire memes about the Webb Telescope's findings.

Unopened bottles of wine were discovered in a 340-year-old shipwreck.

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A "Dreamy Melancholy" Instills a New Antwerp Eatery